Beijing Olympics

                                                                                              Julie Jacobson/Associated Press
Dathan Ritzenhein, right, and Ryan Hall, second from right, lead the pack at the 15-mile
mark during the men's 2008 U.S. Olympic team trials. (AP).

Olympic Marathon Runners to Wear Shoes Made of Rice

June 12, 2008 07:00 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
Some Olympic marathon runners are testing a new type of shoe that they may wear during the Beijing Olympics, one that’s made partially of rice husks.

30-Second Summary

Rice husk shoes could offer some unique advantages for the marathon runners wearing them.

In a city expected to be hot and humid, and on a course that could be slippery at times, these shoes are designed to keep feet cooler and give runners better traction. One athlete says everything helps when racing.

The Olympics are the epitome of running,” stated Deena Kastor, a U.S. runner who medaled in the women’s marathon of the 2004 Athens Olympics. “There is a very small margin of error in preparing and racing. You try not to leave any stone unturned. Those fractions of a second add up.”

Olympic sportswear has raised considerable controversy lately, as critics debate the place of technology in sports. Recently, TYR sued Speedo over a swimsuit that it says provides athletes with an unfair advantage over others.

As for the rice husk shoes, U.S. runner Ryan Hall, who is testing out a pair, said it will take him some time to decide whether he’ll run in the shoes for sure. “It’s kind of like when you’re dating a girl,” he said. “For some, it takes two days for them to know that’s the person they’re going to marry. For some, it takes four years.”

Headline Link: ‘Can Rice Lead to Gold? Marathon Will Offer Test’

Background: Marathon runner falls

Related Link: Technology in sports

Reference: Olympics


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